Businesses today are starting to realize the very important role Social Media plays in Online Marketing. It's not enough to just have a nice website that is search engine friendly. Do not misunderstood a well search engine optimized site is still very important, for organic searches. But, its only half of the equation and as search engines are changing how searches are filled and what sites are ranked first the role of Social Media will grow. Did you know that only 25% of businesses are heavily involved in Social Media, but 81% of companies expect social media budgets to increase over the next year (based on new research from E-Consultancy, in association with the Online Marketing Summit).
Mention Social Networking and your first thoughts are Facebook and Twitter. Of course those are the big ones but dig deep because there is so much more out there. Social Media is about connecting with others and not just friends. Developing relationships and marketing on a more personal level. Social Networking is based on networking, referrals, and your personal expertise in your industry. Its about creating buzz about yourself and or your company. Social Networking is not just for the big boys, sure they may have a whole department that is dedicated to online marketing and Social Networking in particular but for the most part it is free or pretty cheap.
Now, I know that PPC and purchasing online advertising space can get very expensive, and if you have the budget to do that then great! But, that's only one small part of online marketing. Social Media although it may not cost much to implement (unless you have staff to handle it) will cost you time. If you have every gotten heavily involved in face to face networking then you know what I mean with Chamber Events, BNI, and other networking groups. The same is true here. To create buzz you have to put yourself out there, join online forums, write and submit articles in your field of expertise, there are plenty of article sites to submit to, get listed in high ranking online directories, submit video ads to YouTube, create accounts for Google Maps, YellowPages.com, make sure you have a Facebook Fan Page and tweet on Twitter on a regular basis. These are just a few, you also have Social Bookmarking Sites, Press Release Sites, RSS Feeds and more.
Here is a list of high ranking Social Submission Article, Bookmarking and Press Release Sites:
Article Sites – suite101.com, ezinearticles.com, articlesbase.com, goarticles.com, helium.com, buzzle.com.
Bookmarking Sites – Digg, delicious.com, technorati.com, stumbleupon.com, slashdot.org, reddit.com, fark.com.
Press Release Sites – prnewswire.com, prweb.com, businesswire.com.